Thursday, July 9, 2009


It’s been a busy few weeks, things have changed A LOT – mostly for the better, although some things remain a little more difficult to understand. I’ve spent most of my recent time trying to glean the lessons that are meant for me during this crazy journey. It’s like LIFE concentrate.

With business things move so quickly, there isn’t room or time for much introspection. Bumps and bruises are severe, and you are expected to keep moving at this exhausting clip of a pace – irregardless of the condition of the things and people surrounding you. But we move on. And we keep going forward.

That’s the beautiful thing about humanity – resilience, persistent stubborn immovable bullheadedness (I know there are grammatical issues all around with that statement). The point is that nothing is THAT big of a deal. I received a gem of a piece of advice last week – from the most unlikely of sources. He knows the granular version of where I am right now, what’s been going on etc. So one afternoon, while we were meeting to discuss business matters he proceeded to tell me a story about his 90+ year-old grandmother who had survived the Great Depression and made it out the other side with a few businesses under her belt and a clear idea of what it was that enabled her to make it through the lean years. When asked, “What one piece of advice would you give a young person, as it pertains to their success?” Her answer, to me, was like opening a window to welcome a cooling fresh breeze on a stagnant city summer afternoon. It was not fussy, overly pretentious or even hard to read – her answer to his questions was, “Don’t panic.” She told him that if during the years leading up to the period of the Great Depression, people just stepped back and took a minute to clearly analyze their next moves – lives may have been saved, and fortunes remained intact.

Don’t panic.

I’ve allowed those two words to dissolve themselves into the fabric of my thinking processes. Allowed them to be at the forefront of my mind when I am faced with people quitting at the most inoportune time. Thought about that first when resources were thinning out and I just wasn’t sure what the next day would look like.

Don’t panic.

When you ‘don’t panic’ you allow yourself the room to receive. You allow the beautiful music of life to compose itself around your peace. Your lack of panic. You release the mental block that comes from fear and frantic behavior.

There it is then. In the next few weeks, some of the most important events in the history of Lunch By Nature will transpire. We will be featuring some of our most popular summer food items at the 2009 African American Heritage Festival – an expected turnout of an estimated 500,000 people! Our Signature Green Apple Lemonade, made with fresh Granny Smith Apples, Lemons, Sugar and Water – we’ll debut a new sensation our Leaf ‘N Lemon – our take on the well known ‘Half ‘n Half, Arnold Palmer, Summer Split – Freshly steeped Herbal Tea mixed with our Signature Lemonade. Yum. Back by demand, our OMNI and HERBI Market Sandwiches, Grilled Sweet Corn, Kids Grilled Pizza and something NEW – ALL NATURAL SNOW CONES. With flavors like Lime & Mint, Blackberry & Lavendar, Espresso & Mexican Cane Sugar – who needs ‘Red’ Flavor anymore? Come by and say Hi – and don’t say we didn’t warn you, yes REAL food is THAT good.

Look for us to be featured at an upcoming food/wine pairing with Vineyards Elite (1429 Reisierstown Road, Pikesville 410-415-5550 – Check their website for FREE wine tastings+food pairings 7/11 – 7/18 and 7/25 @ 2-5pm) Fantastic selection of wines, craft beer and spirits – tell Mr. Patel I sent you his way!

Holistic Health and Wellness Fair, Be REAL Healthy! @Powerhouse Church, 1532 James St. Baltimore, MD – Featuring A People United Fair Trade Clothing, Tree Baltimore, Sweet Tooth Vegan Desserts, Zella’s Pizzeria, Tai Chi Instruction and Demo, Live Acoustic Music, Baltimore Urban Gardening, Vanguard Ranch LTD – Gourmet ORGANIC Fruits Vegetables and Herbs, Friends of Carroll Park, Cleaner Greener Baltimore, Baltimore Free Store, All World Empowerment Foundation, YMCA and MORE!

The Greater Hollins Business Association is also looking to host a ‘Hollins Open’ – this would look like an Open House for our community. A chance to ’show off’ to the local and regional media, the city and the outlying neighborhoods what we’re doing, the wonderful changes that are happening and provide an opportunity for business owners to meet and greet one another – building relationships and strong networks.

So, I hope to see you at one – or all – of these upcoming events. Your support is an integral part of our success, not just to the success of Lunch By Nature – but to the success of the community we serve as well.

Be good to yourself. And remember, Don’t Panic. ;-)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Today we picked up the keys....the keys to a dream, and to the future!

Details and pictures coming soon.

We will be documenting our progress from now until the Grand Opening on film and via blog posts.

Thank you for all of the support we have received thus far.

We love you all.

Light Always.

Nira and Eshe

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Spinach Red Pepper Quiche...Brunch-tastic, Yes - I love the weekend!

Let me preface this post by saying this is a Vegetarian and NOT Vegan recipe. I have a Vegan version, and will post that soon...

This was brunch today - received well by the kids, with a few 'kid-friendly' recommendations that I will incorporate next time I make this. I served a slice of this with a Spinach and Kumkquat Salad, topped with sliced almonds. Mmmm, mmmm. Enjoy!

2 sticks chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3 cups all purpose flour
8 ounces chilled cream cheese, cut into large pieces
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried Dill
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
In a large bowl combine flour and butter
Using a fork or pastry knife cut the butter into the flour until you have a crumbly mixture
Cut in the cream cheese and add the salt, pepper and other spices
once the butter and cream cheese are cut in, using your hands bring the dough together until it forms a ball
Set the dough on a flat surface dusted with flour
Use a floured rolling pin to roll the dough out to 1/4-inch thickness
Measure the diameter of the tart tin, cut the dough around the tin 1 1/2 inches larger in diameter than the actual size of the tin
Lay the dough round on top of the tart tin, making sure the dough hangs evenly over each bowl
Press the dough down into the tin, making sure to use the over hang - press the over hanging dough into the sides
Trim whatever dough remains
Using a fork prick holes throughout the dough in order to prevent rising while baking
Place the pastry and tin in the freezer for 5 minutes or until firm (this will prevent shrinkage while baking)
Bake the pies for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden brown
Set on a cooling rack and allow the pastry to cool for about 10 minutes
5 eggs
3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sour cream (with 1 teaspoon flour mixed into it)
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 cup shredded zucchini
1 cup chopped portabella mushrooms
2 green onions, sliced
1/2 cup chopped roasted red pepper
1/4 cup chopped spinach
1/2 cup shredded cheese (I used shredded Parmesan)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Place one egg and flour in a bowl and mix until well blended
Add remaining 4 eggs, one at a time until everything is thoroughly combined
Add the sour cream/flour mixture to the egg mixture
Whisk until smooth and the two mixtures are combined
Add the milk
Whisk until smooth and combined
Whisk in the Salt, Pepper and other spices
Place the zucchini, mushrooms, red pepper, green onions, spinach and cheese into the fully baked tart shell
Pour the egg mixture over the veggies into the tart shell
Place the tart in the oven and bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes
Raise temperature to 425 and bake until the filling has set in the middle, about another 20 minutes
The center of the quiche should feel slightly firm
Let the quiche cool for at least 20 minutes to allow the custard to set
You can serve this warm or at room temperature, tastes better the next day
(Chilled and paired with a fruit salad makes an awesome breakfast!)
Serves 6 - 8

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ginger Hoisin Glaze...Multi-Purpose

As seen in the Veg*n Ribs post, this sauce is quite amazing and can be used to glaze Tofu - Seitan - Tempeh - Old Socks - Tires...sorry, got carried away there. Really though this sauce would make year-old Fruitcake taste good.

Don't try the Fruitcake thing, please. It was a joke.

1/2 Cup Tamari soy sauce

1/4 Cup water

2 Tablespoons peanut butter

1 Tablespoon molasses

2 Minced garlic cloves
2 Tablespoons minced fresh ginger

1/2 of a small Red Onion, minced

2 Tablespoons fresh lime zest

2 Teaspoons dark sesame oil
1 Tablespoon light brown sugar
1 Teaspoon Chinese five spice powder

1/8 Teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 Teaspoon salt
1 Teaspoon oil

Put a saucepan on the stovetop on medium heat.

Fry the ginger and garlic in the oil until aromatic (1 minute).

Add the soy sauce and the remaining ingredients.

Cook for 5 – 7 minutes, until the sauce is thick and glossy.

Try not to lick the spoon.


Jarabe. All-Natural Immune Boosting, Cold Fighting Super Syrup!

As a mom, I know there that during this time of year there is always someone running around the house with a cold or the beginnings of a cold. Little does the cold know - I have a super secret weapon in my arsenal.

This recipe was passed down from my great-grandmother to my grandmother to my mom (and probably goes farther back than that). Those members of the Hispanic community all have a variation of this I think.
Home remedies, such as traditional herbals and massages, account for the most popular modalities. They are administered as syrup mixtures. The most commonly used ingredients are whale oil, cod liver oil, honey/royal jelly, aloe vera juice, oregano, onion/garlic, lemon, and castor and almond oil. A commercial syrup known as Siete Jarabes is often used by Puerto Ricans to treat cough, particularly in asthmatic patients. Siete Jarabes is a honey syrup that contains a mixture of sweet almond oil, castor oil, honey, wild cherry, licorice, and cocillana.

This is my version. Jarabe (Sounds like Ha-Ra-Beh)
and in Spanish, literally means syrup

6 Large Lemons

1 Head of garlic

1 Cup of Honey


Peel the lemons (Hint: you can save the peels and use them to make tea)

Place the peeled lemons in a food processor

Separate the cloves of garlic from the head, peel all of the cloves of garlic and add them to the food processor

Process on HIGH until smooth

Add the honey to the food processor

Pulse a few times to combine

Store in an air-tight container and KEEP REFRIGERATED. USE OR FREEZE WITHIN 7 DAYS.

This Jarabe is fantastic for breaking up mucus and fighting off the beginnings of a cold.

Take 1- 2 Tablespoons of Jarabe as needed.

The content on this site is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this site!
If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.

Veg*n Ribs...Um, Yum!

At some point flavors just begin to take on a life of their own. Such is the case with this recipe. I was looking for a good smoky, BBQ-esque, Asian fusion kind of dish. That, of course, did not involve meat of any kind. I've seen some BBQ shaved Seitan sandwich recipes, and Hoisin Tofu recipes - neither got me too excited. I had a great starter by way of a staple seitan recipe - which can be modified many different ways. But I was still missing that magic...

Last week sometime (the day before I began my Spring fast) I picked up the April 2009 issue of Real Simple Magazine. There was a cool article about Cleaning Your House Naturally that caught my attention, but lo and behold there on p. 151 was a recipe for Ginger Hoisin sauce. Needless to say I knew exactly how to take this and make it stellar! I turned an awesome vegan rib recipe into Ginger Hoisin Glazed Veg*n Ribs.

Recipe after the jump. If you make it that far. Ok. Seriously. Stop Drooling.

2 Cups vital wheat gluten
4 Teaspoons paprika
4 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
4 Teaspoons onion powder
2 Tablespoons Chinese five spice powder
4 Teaspoons garlic powder
1 1/2 cups water
4 Tablespoons Tahini
2 Tablespoons natural peanut butter
2 Teaspoons Liquid Hickory Smoke
3 Tablespoons Tamari
1 Tablespoon freshly minced ginger (optional)
2 Green onions sliced (optional)
2 Cups Ginger Hoisin Glaze

Preheat the oven to 375 and lightly grease a deep roasting pan.

Mix the first 5 ingredients together in a large bowl.

Mix the water with the nut butter, Liquid Smoke, peanut butter and soy sauce (make sure there are little to no clumps) and add it to the dry ingredients.

Stir to mix well and then knead lightly by hand in the bowl for a couple of minutes, until the dough is smooth and keeps its shape.

Roll the dough out to 1/2 inch thickness.

Cut strips out of the dough and roll them out to about a 1/4 inch thickness (dough will spring back).

Place your seitan strips into your roasting pan.

Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes.

Then set broiler on high and broil your seitan strips for 5 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven.

Brush the Ginger Hoisin Glaze onto the seitan strips, and return to broiler for another 5 minutes or until glaze is slightly crispy.

Garnish with green onion, or freshly minced ginger.